Little League tournament likely to boost local economy

Businesses near Maugansville prepare for influx of players, families and fans

July 21, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE |
  • Kevin Foster, the store manager at the ROCS Convenience Store, on Maugans Avenue about a mile east of the Little League fields, carries in cases of water, potato chips, oat and honey bars, and hot dogs that were donated to his store and will be given to Maryland State Little League baseball players in the form of a gift bag.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

MAUGANSVILLE — Bob Holsinger is stocking extra ice cream for this weekend, and not just because he expects the mercury to soar.

The owner of Maugansville Creamery also expects business to heat up as the Maugansville Little League hosts the 11-12 Maryland State Little League Baseball Tournament for a week, starting Saturday.

"If everything happens that's being talked about, there's going to be a lot of people, and we certainly hope that benefits our business for the next week or so," said Holsinger, whose creamery and meat market can be seen from the Little League grounds.

A conservative estimate of the money the tournament could pump into Washington County is $55,000 to $100,000, according to Thomas Riford, president and chief executive officer of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

That includes lodging for at least five of the seven teams, food, and expenses such as gas, Riford said.

In addition to 80 to 90 Little Leaguers, hundreds of family members and fans are expected at the baseball complex northwest of Hagerstown.

"Any time that we have tournaments in Washington County, whether it be soccer, softball, Little League, track and field, or cross country, all of these kind of athletic events bring a very positive economic impact," he said.

Following this state tournament, and the regional tournament in Bristol, Conn., teams in this age bracket will move on to the Little League World Series, which will be aired on national TV.

Local Little League officials were told to prepare to seat up to a 1,000 people per game, said Larry Hammond, administrator for Washington County's District 1. Extra bleachers were being set up to accommodate the crowds around Maugansville's major league field, which has lights.

Maugansville Little League President Kelly Colbert said he didn't know if 1,000 people would be on hand for a single game, except perhaps on opening day Saturday, when all but the local team, Conococheague, will take the field.

Conococheague, which earned a bye, will play its first game Sunday.

Seven of the eight districts are sending champion teams to the state tournament, Hammond said.

Other than Conococheague and Thurmont, representing District 2, the other five teams are expected to stay at hotels, Hammond said. Each team will have 11 to 13 players, a manager and two coaches.

And, Hammond said, "The families definitely come with them."

Teams from small towns are more likely to have a fan base that will travel to the state tournament, said Steve Barr, spokesman for the national Little League office in Williamsport, Pa.

As of Thursday morning, teams were expected from Anne Arundel and Caroline counties, Salisbury, and Dunkirk.

Bump in business

In an effort to accommodate baseball fans and keep lines manageable for its regular clientele, Maugansville Creamery will set up an ice-cream cart at the ballpark.

"We want to make sure we can take care of the needs of the ballplayer and the visitors and the family attending the tournament, and not create a negative impact on our regular customers," Holsinger said.

The Holsinger family also owns the neighboring Holsinger's Meat Market, which sells subs and sandwiches. For the tournament, the shop will set up a grill in front of the store to sell fried steak sandwiches and country ham sandwiches, according to the family.

The local Little League has provided a packet of information to participating teams that includes a list of hotels offering deals and attractions to visit.

Raj Patel, co-owner of the Microtel Inn & Suites on Oliver Drive off Maugans Avenue, less than a mile from the baseball fields, said he was expecting a bump in business during the tournament.

As of Wednesday, the hotel hadn't seen much traffic from the tournament yet but some teams had just learned they were going to be in the tournament so he was expecting reservations to increase.

ROCS Convenience Store, on Maugans Avenue about a mile east of the Little League fields, sought donations from its vendors to supply complimentary meals to the players after their games and gift bags when they stop in the convenience store, Manager Kevin Foster said.

Pepsi, Utz, Little Debbie and the store's grocery supplier, H.T. Hackney Co., were chipping in, supplying sodas, hot dogs, chips and more, Foster said.

"Hoping it will get them to come up here whenever they need gas" or bags of ice for their coolers, Foster said.

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